From using your smartphone to check blueprints to using aerial drones to get the lay of the land, the condrstruction industry is booming with advancements in the construction technology of today. If you needed a pickup truck, a modern hydraulic excavator, or a portable circular saw at work, these tools would be easily accessible, but 100 years ago, none of these tools existed.
Imagine what a job site would look like without these tools and the advancements in construction technology. Without these tools that we now solely depend on, we would’ve been doing everything by hand. Without any heavy equipment, laborers would’ve been using shovels, pickaxes, and other primitive tools that took more time, effort, and energy. Without elevators, there wouldn’t be any skyscrapers.
Technological advancements have always improved construction and helped it advance year after year. Improvements in construction technology have helped the industry so much, so it feels odd when some companies still stick to old ways of construction. With construction technology, new-age structures are stronger, taller, more durable, and more energy efficient. Construction sites are much safer now because of construction technology, and work has been made more flexible and easier. With construction technology, we can work on more complex projects and increase work safety and productivity.
What is Construction Technology?
According to the Construction Industry Institute, construction technology is “the collection of innovative tools, machinery, modifications, software, etc. used during the construction phase of a project that enables advancement in field construction methods, including semi-automated and automated construction equipment.”
At present, new construction technologies are being made at an even faster pace. What we only imagined years ago is finally here and things like robots, augmented and virtual reality, 3D printing, drones, cutting-edge software, digital blueprint apps, and heavy equipment are all a reality now and are used all across the world. With blueprint apps and softwares, all parts of a project are perfectly managed without laying a single brick. In the past, robots seemed like something that we would only see in a fictional movie, but even they are real now and are taking a major role in the industry worldwide.
While construction firms underinvest in technology, venture capitalists bet big on construction technology and its future in the industry. A report from James Long LaSalle, Inc. explains venture capital firms have invested $1.05 billion in global contech startups in the first half of 2018, which is a 30% increase over the amount that was invested in 2017. Since 2009, 478 funding deals with a total of $4.34 billion have been closed by investors.
Following are some main areas where construction technology has been improving and advancing the industry:
When construction demands increase without any increase in productivity, problems involving delays start to arise. This is why recent advancements in construction technology are so vital in the construction industry. Often increasing productivity is considered challenging because making construction processes a one-size-fits-all standard is difficult to achieve.
Every project and construction site is different, presenting its own unique risks and objectives. This makes it hard to increase productivity the way industries like retailing and manufacturing have been doing. However, due to advancements in construction technology, methods of accomplishing tasks and doing jobs are now easier and much more efficient, making construction faster to finish.
Mobile Apps and Softwares
These days there’s a mobile app or software for everything you require. Similarly, there are mobile apps and softwares for managing construction projects. The new digital world has modern technology that saves lots of precious time for the construction industry. Whether it’s preconstruction or scheduling, field reporting, project management, or managing your back office. There are several software solutions to streamline your processes and improve productivity.
Many softwares are cloud-based, so it’s easy for you to alter and update documents and schedules. These allow better collaboration and communication. New mobile technology also allows better data transmission and collection between the work site and the project managers in the back office to help things stay organized and easily accessible.
On-site employees, with the help of cloud-based solutions, can submit expense reports, timecards, requests for information (RFIs), work records, and other verified documentation. This saves lots of precious time in data entry and automatically organizes critically important files.
With cloud-based softwares, you no longer have to shuffle through files to look for old reports. Many software providers are forming strategic partnerships to allow you to easily connect your data with other software providers, making your construction business run easier.
AI & Machine Learning
Construction firms now use data to make smarter decisions, improve worksite safety, improve productivity, and lessen risks. With the help of machine learning systems and artificial intelligence (AI), firms can turn the vast loads of data that has been collected over the years on projects to predict future outcomes on various projects and gain an advantage when bidding and estimating on construction projects. AI can also improve work productivity by reducing time wasted on moving around the construction site to look for materials, tools, and equipment to do tasks.
Safety & Training
As adopting construction technology in the construction industry continues to increase and we rely more and more on construction technology, one area that improves a lot along the way is safety. With technological advancements, there is an increase in worker safety, and now there are fewer to no risks in the construction site. Worker safety should be the top priority of every construction company.
The new construction technology can help the new young recruits that have recently started working in construction and lack the experience and skill that their veteran peers possess.
Drones are used in several ways to help out at work sites. Drones identify potential hazards and conduct worksite inspections. They are also used to monitor workers throughout the day to make sure every worker is safely working and isn’t slacking off. Photos of work progresses are also taken by drones to make as-built models of job sites to inform everyone of the changing work conditions every day. More dangerous jobs are also done with drones from unmanned systems solutions companies, such as bridge and building inspections.
Robots were once considered to be something only seen in movies, but now they’re a reality. However, current robots aren’t as well-developed as the robots in movies, but real-life robots are programmed to do simple tasks, and they can work continuously without tiring and at a much faster rate than a human worker. Robots don’t need breaks or require sleep. They don’t get tired when they lift heavy bricks and other stuff. This doesn’t mean that the robots have replaced worker jobs, the robots still need to be set up by workers, and there are certain jobs that a robot cannot do. The robots don’t replace the workers but help the workers to work with more productivity.
Adopting technology in the construction industry has improved building and working immensely, and many construction firms are starting to adopt construction tech more and more. Companies, like North Construction, that implement and research construction technology reap the rewards of increased productivity. With technological advancements in the construction department, Firms can stay under budget, have better collaboration, projects get completed in less time, and the overall work environment is much safer with the involvement of construction technology.